By MWAPE MUSONDA
THE development of every nation is dependent upon many factors such as its natural resources, the political will from its leaders and, most importantly, the hard work and sacrifices of its citizens.
Many developed countries, especially in the Western world, will agree that to reach where they are today, they had to rely on the above factors but more importantly their human resources.
The importance of manpower in the development agenda of a country as well as the world at large cannot be over-emphasised.
A well-qualified, dedicated and hard-working labour force is every nationâ€™s driver of development.
Our country is aware of this fact and has continued to train many of its citizens in various fields since independence.
We can safely say that we are on the right track as far as human resource development is concerned because we have many qualified personnel as compared to the 109 graduates we had in 1964.
The problem, however, is the poor work attitude of many Zambians, especially civil servants.
An average worker in Zambia would like to report late for work, chatter during working hours and knock off as early as possible â€“ even an hour earlier.
One would conclude that the reason many employees have such bad work culture is that they donâ€™t understand the objectives of their respective organisations.
As workers we need to start appreciating that we are employed to help deliver the objectives of our companies.
So our input, no matter how small, is very important to the overall picture.
What we must understand is that as a country we only have eight productive hours in a day except for the mines and hospitals where they work 24 hours a day.
If, therefore, we decide to waste away this limited time, then we can as well leave development for those countries where people are willing to work hard.
I get so inspired by the commitment of our friends in the transport industry; the drivers and co-boys.
Despite the fact that their jobs are not secured by pensions or gratuities, they are the most committed workforce this country has ever had.
Their routine involves working long hours, usually from 05:00 hours to 20:00 hours, but you never get to hear any of them complain or take unnecessary off days.
We often like to despise them for their rough, reckless driving and disregard for other road users, but I am challenging all of us to look at what really motivates them to do what they do.
To them every minute of a day counts! They would rather spend it searching for their next customer than be held up in traffic, and that explains their aggression.
Imagine if all Zambians were to have this attitude in whatever field we serve.
An officer charged with issuing national registration cards or passports serving one client with speed and efficiency so that they can serve their next client, pensions officers so committed to discharging their duties efficiently that they report for work early and knock off late every single day.
If that was to happen, I am sure the queues we find ourselves in at various institutions every day can quickly disappear.
This is what we need if we are seeking speedy development.
It does not matter what kind of a job you may have. What you must understand is that you are there to contribute to the achievement of the overall objective of your organisation.
The truth is that when we delay our work; we also delay the input of the next person and the chain of inefficiency continues.
Eventually the achievement of our organisationâ€™s objectives is also delayed.
I am calling on all forward-thinking Zambians who would like to see our country develop to change their attitude from â€˜business-as-usualâ€™ to â€˜business nowâ€™.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, â€œlet us be the change we wish to see in our societyâ€.
We should not leave foreigners to decide our countryâ€™s future.
Remember that without a hard-working labour force, real development will remain only a far-fetched dream for our country. God bless!
The author is a humanism activist and ZICA licentiate student.
By MWAPE MUSONDA